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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Virat Kohli’s ex-teammate Siddarth Kaul finally gets an India chance

Siddharth Kaul, former teammate of Virat Kohli in the U-19 Indian cricket team, is aiming to give his best shot after receiving his maiden call-up to the senior national team

india-vs-sri-lanka-2017 Updated: Nov 27, 2017 22:20 IST
Shalini Gupta
Shalini Gupta
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Siddharth Kaul has received his maiden call-up to the Indian cricket team.
Siddharth Kaul has received his maiden call-up to the Indian cricket team.(BCCI)

Punjab pacer Siddarth Kaul was on the field, plotting the downfall of Services batsmen in a Ranji Trophy game at Amritsar on Monday afternoon when umpire Vineet Kulkarni informed him, in between overs, about his selection to the India team for Sri Lanka ODIs.

At the end of day’s play, elder brother Uday Kaul, who is Punjab wicketkeeper but isn’t playing this game, hugged him tight. Siddarth then called up his parents in Chandigarh. Incidentally, father Tej Kaul had served as India team’s physio in early 90s while mother Sandhya Kaul is a gymnastics coach with Sports Authority of India.

“I am happy that I have been given a chance. Every cricketer dreams to be in the India team and I was working hard on this for a decade. I think the call-up has come a bit late, but thanks to the Almighty it has come. There was a time I wanted to give up the game and had to hire a mental trainer to remain focused. I should not let this chance go away easily and give my best shot,” an emotional Siddarth told Hindustan Times from Amritsar.

Siddarth was part of the India U-19 team which won the World Cup in Malaysia under Virat Kohli’s captaincy in 2008.

However, while Virat has become the most feared batsman in the world and India captain across all formats, Siddarth ground out a career in domestic cricket with consistent performances. In 50 first-class matches, he has 175 wickets. He has done well for India A in whatever opportunities he has got.

The paceman harboured hopes of an India spot on the back of his 16 wickets in 10 matches that helped Sunrisers Hyderabad win the IPL last year. But even as India played many low profile limited-overs internationals, a national team call-up eluded him.

Now that he has an opportunity, he is looking forward to making the most of it with some help from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, with whom he has bowled in tandem in IPL.

“Bhuvi Paaji (Bhuvneshwar) has been a great mentor to me in IPL. His presence in the team will not only motivate me but also boost my confidence. His involvement in shaping up my bowling has been extraordinary. I have learnt variations, among other skills, from him. Also the first two ODIs are at Dharamshala and at my home ground in Mohali. I know the conditions well at both the grounds. It would have been great if Virat Paaji was also there in the team, it would have been a sort of re-union after the U-19 World Cup,” said Siddharth, who would be joining the India team at the end of the Ranji Trophy match against Services.

First Published: Nov 27, 2017 21:20 IST